Chenopodium album

Chenopodium album, also know as lamb’s quarters, goosefoot, or pigweed (Hey, but everything is also known as goosefoot or pigweed) is coming in strong in the garden and ready for the table.  It tastes a little like spinach due to its similar high oxalic acid content.

Chenopodium Plants - Phoenix AZ Fall 2013

Chenopodium album plants – at TESLI Central Phoenix, Arizona Fall 2013

I just discovered a new trick for harvesting that I’d like to pass on. In Phoenix, the plants go straight from sprouts and into flower. I prefer young tips without flowers, but this just doesn’t seem to occur in our climate. The small tender leaves are best, but they are tedious to harvest. I used to sit outside and either pluck them off one-by-one or I’d use scissors to cut them. I only found time to do this once or twice a season. Such a pity to let all those greens go to waste.

Today I realized that I usually had more plants then I could handle and, since reharvesting was rare, I just cut the whole plant off and brought the stalks inside. Much easier to pluck leaves when I’m working directly over a bowl. Great time saver!

Another thing I would like to share is my trick for washing dirty greens. Chenopodium seems to attract dust, so I always have to clean them. When I was growing up we lived on ice berg lettuce – all clean and cellophane wrapped from the store. It wasn’t until I was in my twenties that I learned an easy way to get sand and dirt off of spinach and lettuce. I was working at a restaurant and we would simply fill up a basin with water and dump the greens in.  After dunking the greens a couple times, the dirt effortlessly sank to the bottom and we would pluck the greens out and put them in a large colander, dump the water and dirt and then repeat. Twice was usually enough, but occasionally a batch could use a third rinse for good measure. At home I spread them out on towels to dry for a bit before storing in the fridge.

Chenopodium album

A pile of freshly cleaned lamb’s quarter’s leaves ready to eat.

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